No consequences...

consequence-management How are you managing consequences on your team?

...No change!

In our goal-planning work we facilitate with our leadership and business coaching clients, a key element of the process is documenting the rewards and consequences attached to any specific goal. Whether it is an individual, a team, or an organizational goal, we look at the rewards of achieving the goal and the consequences of not achieving the goal. This process is critical to establishing why the goal is important to the individual’s, team’s or organization’s success. These rewards and consequences always exist for any goal. What doesn’t always exist is the full understanding leaders have as to the impact they have on achieving the desired results.

Psychology tells us people are more motivated by consequences than they are by the equivalent number of rewards. This is due to the impact of fear, survival, immediacy, and conditioning to name a few. What we’ve encountered in our leadership and business coaching practice is the struggle surrounding a leader’s ability to recognize and manage the consequences in any giving situation. Generally speaking, we see two scenarios that routinely come to light with clients. The first is identifying and clearly communicating the consequences of a given situation. Secondly, the ability to enforce the known consequences and the difficult conversations that usually ensue. Let’s take a closer look at each and what leaders can do in each scenario.

Identifying and communicating the consequences of a given situation typically involves situations where change is introduced. Humans inherently will resist change to some degree. Thus, consequences of the change are the ones that individuals conjure up in their WIIFM (what’s in it for me) thinking. Leaders have a responsibility to effectively communicate the consequences of staying the same as the driver of change as well as the consequences of the change itself. In the absence of this communication, the tendency is to go through the motions and ultimately fail to reap the benefits of the change. No consequences, no change!

In the scenario where the consequences are clearly present, there exists a challenge for leaders to facilitate the difficult conversation that typically accompanies enforcing them. In our work with clients and MBA students around working with conflict in the workplace, it is estimated that close to 80% of people choose avoidance as their first reaction to conflict. As we dig deeper, we find a few trends related to why this occurs. Most common is leaders don't have the vocabulary to effectively manage both the substantive and emotional elements of conflict. Closely related is the emotional strength to carry the conflict discussion to a proper end, thus giving way to a more watered-down version of the situation. Both scenarios typically result in an out-of-integrity situation which literally erodes the leader’s credibility. No consequences, no change!

We can all remember either being on the receiving end or the giving end of the phrase, “Because I said so.” In days gone by, that might’ve worked without further discussion. In today’s workplace, not so much. Change, which is a constant in today’s new reality, has consequences that must be recognized, communicated and managed by leaders. Whether at an individual, a team or an organizational level, if there are no consequences, there is no change.

How are you managing consequences on your team? If you are not sure, we can help!

Lead Well!

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Sunday, 21 July 2024